Russ Cohen: In the game of baseball, numbers don’t lie

By / July 7, 2015 / Books, Media, Past, Present and Future

There are fans of the game of baseball who just appreciate a good game. They enjoy going to the ball park and 5171T8gRnKLwatching a great pitcher make a good hitter look foolish at the plate. They appreciate the memories they make with the kids. These fans love hearing the crack of the bat when it connects with a baseball or a ball hitting the catchers mitt for a called three strike.

On the other side of the spectrum, there are those fans who appreciate any and all stats they can get their hands on. They are the ones who peruse on their lunch break just before the start of a game later that day. These are the fans that will throw numbers at you to make any argument a winning one.

There is one book that Mets fans should own that can do just that. In his new book, “Numbers Don’t Lie”, Russ Cohen gives Mets fans a look at numbers they probably have never thought about before. This book will give you a new arsenal for any battle you pick with anybody.

Everybody talks about the Mets with the greatest infield from the late nineties through 2000. One key player was first baseman John Olerud. He was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays at the end of the 1996 season. In 1998, he had a 23-game winning streak, an OBP of .447 and a .354 batting average. Olerud holds the team record for OBP and BA to this day.

Speaking of the greatest infield, Rey Ordonez had only four errors in 1999 in 1,316 and two-thirds innings. Don’t you wish he was still your shortstop?

There is no denying the super stardom of Darryl Strawberry. He was on his way to becoming a first ballot Hall of Famer when he was with the New York Mets. Then began his fall from grace. The drugs started. The demons he began to fight were more than the organization wanted to deal with. The Mets allowed him to walk after the 1990 season. When he became eligible for the Hall of Fame voting in 2005, he only received 1.2 percent of the votes.

September 15th, 1969. St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Steve Carlton struck out a record 19 Mets hitters, but still lost the game when Ron Swoboda hit two home runs. Mets won it 4-2.

Felix Millan, second baseman for the Mets in 1974, only struck out 14 times in 518 at-bats in the entire season.

Here is one part that drove me nuts:

September 11, 1974, the Mets and Cardinals played the second longest major league game on record: a 25-inning marathon at Shea Stadium that began shortly after 8pm and didn’t end until 3:13 am the following morning.

The game, which the Cardinals won 4-3, involved 50 players and required 15 dozen baseballs, five sweepings of the infield, and an incalculable number of bathroom breaks. Even at seven hours and five minutes, the game wasn’t the longest in elapsed time. It fell 19 minutes short of the record set by the Mets and San Francisco Giants on May 31, 1964.

I would love to meet any person that stayed up for that game.

You think you have it bad? Try having Anthony Young’s numbers. This kid had a 27-game losing streak. This is one record that will undoubtedly stand the test of time.

I have to say, this was one book I found very interesting. When it comes to baseball, I do love numbers. Whether you have one book or a hundred books on the New York Mets, this is one that you must add to your library. Just remember one thing. In the words of Howard Johnson:

As you thumb through these pages, just remember that even if numbers don’t lie, they never tell the whole story.

Sounds like another book in the making.

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